A Guest Post by Kat Landreth from Pare and Focus
I love the idea of photography gear that will do the job without breaking the bank. Unfortunately sometimes the equipment I try ends up wasting my money instead of saving it.
Do you hate spending your hard earned cash on gear that doesn’t work? These are the five biggest photo equipment mistakes I’ve made and the gear I now use instead.
1. Lens Blower/Brush
Seems like a cleaver little tool right? It’s not. It actually makes my lens even dirtier. The blower doesn’t have enough force to really blow anything and the brush is worse because it sheds bristles everywhere. I shouldn’t have to clean up after the cleaning tool.
2. Cheap UV Filters
Some people suggest using a UV filter to protect your lens while you shoot. They’re not supposed to effect your pictures so you should be able to leave them on your lens all the time.
Just my luck, the cheap filters I bought made all of my pictures soft.
So how should you protect your lens instead?
- If you’re not willing to give up on UV filters, image quality is better when you pay up for top of the line versions.
- A lens hood can put some distance between the glass and anything that can scratch it.
- And of course there’s my personal favorite- the lens cap.
3. Dedicated Bean Bag
Before I went on safari everyone said I should buy a beanbag to prop up my camera when I couldn’t use a tripod. So I bought one and by the end of the trip I hadn’t used it once.
There were definitely times when the beanbag could have been useful but it was always more handy to fold up a jacket or sweater to put under my camera.
4. Cheap Tripod
I thought it would be OK to spend less on my first tripod. Then I realized there are good reasons people buy more expensive tripods. They’re often lighter, sturdier, and easier to use.
My first cheap tripod (and it wasn’t truly cheap at $80 US) started to break down after two months of use. It was too big and too heavy to carry around my neighborhood let alone bring with me on trips.
Buying $80 tripods once a year seemed like an expensive habit so I made an investment in a tripod I won’t have to replace for a long time. Added Bonus- I actually like to use the new tripod.
5. The First Camera Bag You See
The day bought my camera I also got a camera bag to protect and carry it. I hardly use it. It just doesn’t feel right.
It’s really no wonder I don’t like that bag. I didn’t know what style would work for me or the kinds of gear I would need to put in it. It can take time to figure these things out but you have to use something until you find the right bag.
I bought a Lenscoat DSLR cover and a padded lens bag. The Lenscoat goes on the camera body, and the lens bag fits over any lens I own even when it’s attached to the camera. This modular system keeps my gear safe enough to carry in regular backpacks and purses.
I’d still like to find the best camera bag for me but this system is perfect until then.
Help Me Out
I know I’m not the only one who’s ever wasted money while trying to save it. And I know some of you might love the gear I loathe. So let me hear it. What’s your least favorite photo gear? If you disagree with this list tell me about that too. Maybe you’ll convince me to look at my unused gear in a new light.
Kat Landreth writes PareandFocus.com –budget friendly photography tips, tricks, and tutorials.